July 24 2009 show notes

  • "Brunch with Bernie" with Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. His committee passed a bill, not single payer, but public option, putting lots of money into primary health care - more access to doctors, disease prevention, quality control, increasing coverage to tens of millions. The Baucus finance committee is focusing on negotiating with Republicans, none of whom is interested in public plan or negotiating with health companies. Bernie explained about the different bills, and how they would have to be reconciled (transcript). Now is the time to be active, tell them you want at the very least a strong public option. We need public funding of elections, the money is why we are the only country with no single payer. In a Canada poll about health care, 70% said they were very well or pretty well satisfied. 82% said no, they would not like to go to the American style of health care. Article 32 of the Italian constitution says that health care is a fundamental right.

    The issue is not just health care, but the power of big money, he has never seen it so naked. Video of Bernie questioning Bernanke. He has asked for an audit of the Fed, and for the Fed to say who received the $$$. What should we be telling them?

    • single payer (ultimately)
    • progressively funded
    • expansion of primary health care
    • disease prevention
    • universality

    Defense Of Marriage Act. The world has changed, there is a generational split. We are making progress. Bernie voted against it.

    Where does the money go to? Bernie does not get many lobbyists, they know where he stands. They want members to look at the world from their perspective. Plus campaign contributions. Would repealing the Bush tax cut and trade policy provide enough money? We could create lots of green jobs. FDR's programs in the '30s, how he educated people about big money. The president could do it, but needs our support, we should fight. The Republicans have nothing to offer but filibusters. Right wing stations are telling people to call congress opposing single payer, and the representatives do not get it.

  • Article: Article: "Focus on the Fed: Transparency at the central bank is a serious question. It deserves a serious answer."
  • Bumper Music: Friday I'm In Love, The Cure (video).
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  • Article: Police Raid Berwyn Heights Mayor's Home, Kill His 2 Dogs.
  • Bumper Music: Let's Get It started In Here, Black Eyed Peas.
  • Guest: Ravi Batra, professor of economics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Author of "Greenspan's Fraud: How Two Decades of His Policies Have Undermined the Global Economy" and "The New Golden Age: The Coming Revolution against Political Corruption and Economic Chaos".

    The DOW going up, froth. Where is the economy at now, where is it going? It is mostly going up because analysts are saying it will get better, so people are getting into the market now rather than later. It is not getting better now, there are still a lot of layoffs, new production is falling, but not as fast as before - they call an improvement. Inventory cycle. They need to stock up now, so there is some increase. Banks are making money free from the government, passing it on at a price, but the volume is falling because people cannot afford to borrow. Profits rise because of layoffs cutting costs, but people laid off can't buy, so this is not a good rise. The bank profits go to rich people who do not stimulate the economy. Bonuses are going up rather than dividends. Goldman Sachs has its highest profits ever, which shows you, they are single-handedly wrecking the economy. We are now in the same position as September 2008 when it started to crash. He thinks there will be a big fall. Down very sharply. Oil prices are still rising.

    How differently should they be handling it? They are all focusing on the wrong aspect, the banks, need to increase lending. Banks have a lot of money, can lend all they want, but the public does not have the collateral or wages. They should focus on auto, housing. For example, housing tax credit to those facing foreclosure. Washington is just facilitating a big money grab from a sinking ship? Single payer could save trillions. We're paying 17% GDP, Canada 10%, it would be a huge saving? Get rid of the Fed? Audit it (Ron Paul, Bernie want to audit it). Is the collapse of the economy a deliberate plot? Trickle down. Not a plot; greed. The corporatocracy have extended their power. Are money and power the same thing? The revolution will mean the end of money meaning power. Why are people still investing in 401(k)s? The market could crash next month. Friday August 6 [sic] Labor Department unemployment figures for July. They will say the lower drop is good news - but it means less buying power.

    How to get a grip on campaign financing? He's optimistic in the long run, not the short term. Declines in so many things. Unemployment benefits are running out, people are no longer unemployed. They are living in a fool's paradise, soon things will erupt. Congressman Alan Grayson questioning Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. There used to be no such lending. Stimulus, multiplier, what is it now? China. 1:1, $1 spent is $1 production.

  • Threshold Thom's book "Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture" came out yesterday.
  • Upcoming Events: Thom's book tour for "Threshold":

    July 27th - Portland, OR - Baghdad Theater & Powell's Books 7p

    July 30th - Seattle, WA - Town Hall. Details TBA

    Aug 4th - San Francisco, CA - World Affairs Council. Details TBA

    Aug 5th - Santa Monica, CA - Santa Monica Library. Details TBA

    Aug 17th - Minneapolis, MN - details TBA

    Aug 19th - Chicago, IL - details TBA

    Aug 21st - Madison, WI - details TBA. There will be "Brunch with Bernie" with members of the audience getting to ask the questions.

  • Upcoming Event: Aug 8th - Seattle, WA AM1090 Presents - "Embracing Change: Moving Forward As The Majority" with Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Bill Press, Mike Malloy and Ron Reagan - Tickets are just $22 for Reserved Seating, $32 for Premium Reserved Seating, and $47 for VIP Floor Seating. Tickets go on sale Saturday June 27th @ 10AM. Purchase yours at the ShoWareCenter Box Office, or by phone at 253-856-6999. Doors open at 5pm, the panel discussion runs from 6-9pm. (not to be confused with the July 30th Seattle book signing).
  • Bumper Music: My Generation, The Who.
  • Grayson: "We actually looked at one of the arrangements and one of the arrangements is $9 Billion for New Zealand. That works out to $3000 for every single person who lives in New Zealand. Seriously, wouldn't it be better to extend that kind of credit to Americans rather than New Zealanders?"

    Bernanke: "It's... It's not costing Americans anything. We're getting interest back and it comes back, it's not at the cost of any American credit. We are extending credit to Americans."

    Grayson: Well couldn't, wouldn't it necessarily affect the credit markets if you extend half a trillion dollars in credit to anybody?

    Bernanke: We are lending to all US financial institutions in exactly the same way.

    Grayson: Well, look at the next page. The very next page has the US dollar nominal exchange rate which shows a 20% increase in US dollar nominal exchange rate at exactly the same time that you were handing out half a trillion dollars to foreigners. Do you think that's a coincidence?

    Bernanke: Yes.

    Congressman Alan Grayson questioning Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, 21 July 2009.

  • What can we do to avoid personal financial collapse? Thom subscribes to newsletters The Aden Forecast and Professional Timing Service.
  • Guest: "News Under the Radar" with our weekly visit from Christy Harvey, Director of Strategic Communications at the Center for American Progress, and co-producer of MicCheckradio.org. Wish you were here, Sarah Palin farewell tour this weekend. Rally for single payer at the same park and at the same time. The doctor with Michael Jackson had his 12 year old son watch attempts at revival? He fell asleep while administering a drip, leading to an overdose? Cheney, Scooter Libby, Bush. Scooter covering for his boss? "you don't want to leave one of your own on the battlefield". A question near the end of a Pew poll asked if suicide bombing was ever justified? For the first time more people said never.
  • Article: DESIGNATED SHOOTER: "Two States Legalize Guns in Bars By Robert Mackey."
  • Article: TODAY'S MUST READ: "Inside Bush and Cheney's Final Days By Massimo Calabresi and Michael Weisskopf."
  • Article: POLL POSITION: "Confidence in Obama Lifts U.S. Image Around the World: Most Muslim Publics Not So Easily Moved. Pew Center."
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
  • Article: Intel: Antitrust fine violated human rights.
  • The stranglehold will not be broken until transnationals are broken or the economy is much worse. The Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930.
  • The corporatists are a third party?
  • Bumper Music: Thank God It's Friday, R. Kelly.
  • Investment, pensions are invested by corporations into other corporations. When people retire, they roll them into IRAs - corporations. Locked in perpetuation of corporate state. Pool together?
  • Richard in Sublimity, Oregon is member of a day and won a copy of Threshold for calling in to the show about healthcare, HR676. Thom got some copies in today.
  • HR676, implementation could take 15 years, DeFazio said it does not have any details - it is a shell. There is a summary of HR676 on Conyer's site. Similar to France's system.
  • FireDogLake petition asking members of the house to work through recess.
  • Bumper Music: What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong. Thanks.
  • I wanted to address you guys directly because over the last day and a half obviously there's been all sorts of controversy around the incident that happened in Cambridge with Professor Gates and the police department there.

    I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation -- and I told him that.

    And because this has been ratcheting up -- and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up -- I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically -- and I could have calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sergeant Crowley.

    I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well. My sense is you've got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.

    The fact that it has garnered so much attention I think is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America. So to the extent that my choice of words didn't illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.

    What I'd like to do then I make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people, not extrapolate too much from the facts -- but as I said at the press conference, be mindful of the fact that because of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African Americans are sensitive to these issues. And even when you've got a police officer who has a fine track record on racial sensitivity, interactions between police officers and the African American community can sometimes be fraught with misunderstanding.

    My hope is, is that as a consequence of this event this ends up being what's called a "teachable moment," where all of us instead of pumping up the volume spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity. Lord knows we need it right now -- because over the last two days as we've discussed this issue, I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody has been paying much attention to health care. (Laughter.)

    I will not use this time to spend more words on health care, although I can't guarantee that that will be true next week. I just wanted to emphasize that -- one last point I guess I would make. There are some who say that as President I shouldn't have stepped into this at all because it's a local issue. I have to tell you that that part of it I disagree with. The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that race is still a troubling aspect of our society. Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive -- as opposed to negative -- understandings about the issue, is part of my portfolio.

    So at the end of the conversation there was a discussion about -- my conversation with Sergeant Crowley, there was discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House. We don't know if that's scheduled yet -- (laughter) -- but we may put that together.

    He also did say he wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn. (Laughter.) I informed him that I can't get the press off my lawn. (Laughter.) He pointed out that my lawn is bigger than his lawn. (Laughter.) But if anybody has any connections to the Boston press, as well as national press, Sergeant Crowley would be happy for you to stop trampling his grass.

    Statement by the President, July 24, 2009.

  • Victoria Jones of Talk Radio News at the White House. She was in the briefing and they were bored, Gates pushed it back from 2, then 2:30, finally Obama walked in. He had just talked to Sergeant Crowley, the police officer in the Gates case, ironed everything out. He said his words contributed to ratcheting it up, unfortunate words, overreaction of 2 good people, take a step back, teachable moment, be more reflective. Race is still troubling, commenting is part of his portfolio. The police officer was a racial profiling avoidance trainer. It looks like a situation ratcheted up by 2 people not wanting to back down. Thom has felt most enraged when he felt powerless. House Energy and Commerce Chair Waxman, either his panel blue dogs must relent (7) or will bypass committee and move health care straight to the floor, eviscerate, I'm not going to hand over control. Meeting. Finance Committee very private.
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